LITTLE ROCK — The 18-year-old suspect arrested last week in the slaying of a transgender teenager in Sherwood was involved in the fatal shooting of another teen four years ago in the same city.
Trevone Hayse Miller also was arrested in an attempted robbery last year, and less than four months ago was found with a .22-caliber pistol after police arrested him on a charge of identity theft, records show.
Miller of Sherwood was arrested Thursday in the death of Braylen Stone, a 17-year-old from North Little Rock who went by the name Brayla. Miller remained in the Pulaski County jail as of Tuesday afternoon, according to an inmate roster.
Stone’s death has attracted significant interest on social media as attention increases over acts of violence against transgender people, especially transgender minorities.
Stone was found dead June 25 in a vehicle parked on a walking path near Gap Creek Drive in Sherwood. After a week passed with no word on a suspect, Sherwood police announced Thursday that they had arrested Miller on charges of capital murder and tampering with or destroying evidence in Stone’s death.
Miller was 14 in 2016 when he and two other boys, ages 17 and 15, were charged in the shooting death of 17-year-old Bryan Allen Thompson, records show.
Thompson, a student at Sylvan Hills High School, was found dead in his car in the parking lot of the Bill Harmon Recreation Center on April 21, 2016. A detective reported during criminal proceedings that Thompson had been shot in the neck.
Miller was the first to agree to cooperate with prosecutors. He said he would testify against his co-defendants; in exchange, Miller’s charge of capital murder was dropped and a charge of aggravated robbery was transferred to juvenile court instead.
The two other teens ultimately pleaded guilty.
Quincy Parks, 15, who admitted to firing the shot that killed Thompson, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder — a reduced charge from capital murder — along with aggravated robbery, records show.
The third teenager accused of participating in the slaying, Xavier Terrell Porter, pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In May 2019, Miller was arrested on robbery and impersonation charges related to an incident at a Walmart in Little Rock, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported earlier this year.
A 32-year-old woman identified Miller to police as the person who tried to wrest her purse from her after the person claimed he was a security officer for the store. The man ran off empty-handed after the victim told him she had a gun, the victim told police.
Another witness in the same parking lot reported that the same person had told him to get out of his car, claiming he was a police officer, but left when the man asked to see a badge.
After his arrest on those robbery and criminal impersonation charges, Miller was released from jail on a $7,500 bond, records show.
Just a few months ago, before his trial in the robbery case, Miller was arrested again, this time on identity-theft and weapons charges, the Democrat-Gazette reported.
In March, a Sherwood officer recognized Miller as wanted on a warrant related to identity theft and arrested him as Miller attempted to flee. The officer found Miller was carrying a .22 pistol, reports said.
Miller was released from jail again.
When asked Monday why Miller was not held in light of his recent criminal offenses, John Johnson, chief deputy prosecuting attorney for Pulaski County, said Miller’s history in juvenile court meant that his recent arrest with the .22 did not yield a new felony offense.
When police found the gun on Miller several months ago at the time of his arrest in the identity-theft case, his history in juvenile court meant that Miller was not charged with a felony for possessing the weapon, unlike an instance where someone in possession of a firearm has a felony conviction, Johnson said.
“They make the distinction in juvenile court between a conviction and adjudication of delinquency,” Johnson explained.
By virtue of Miller’s age and because he had not been found guilty of a felony, when he was found to have the pistol the offense “had to go to juvenile court,” Johnson said.
Proceedings in the juvenile court of Pulaski County are not public.
In terms of the $7,500 bail set for Miller’s previous robbery arrest, Johnson said prosecutors can only argue for and suggest bail amounts to a judge.
“Unless you’ve been charged with capital murder, everybody’s entitled to a bond,” Johnson said.
Miller spent five days in jail after his arrest in June 2019.
Johnson declined to comment when asked about his impression of the suspect considering Miller’s series of alleged criminal offenses, all committed at a young age. As an explanation, the prosecutor cited Miller’s pending capital-murder charge.
“What I can tell you is that we’re going to do everything to be sure, first of all, that if we’re able to get a conviction, that it’s something that sticks,” Johnson said, adding that prosecutors “don’t want to be trying our case in the press.”
Johnson also declined to discuss the evidentiary basis for Miller’s murder charge related to Stone’s slaying during the lead-up to a trial.
Sherwood city officials had not responded by Tuesday to detailed questions submitted Monday from the Democrat-Gazette seeking more information about Miller’s arrest and the basis for his murder and tampering charges.
The Pulaski County coroner has yet to release a report on Stone’s death.
Information for this article was contributed by Tony Holt, John Lynch and Ginny Monk of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.